Isla Mujeres Mystery ~ Lynda L. Lock

A thirsty weekend – election time in Mexico

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2016 candidate Juan Carillo in centre – won election
The liquor departments in the grocery stores are roped off.  Large signs proclaim: No alcohol sales today.  

The local cantinas and neighbourhood beer stores are closed up tight.  Good grief!  This is Mexico.  Normally beer and bottled coolers are sold in every corner store, all year around.  

What’s happening? 

2016 Media truck 
Well, it is election time and Mexico has a dry law, ley seca, prohibiting the sale of alcohol on the weekend of the elections.  This year it fell on Saturday June 4thand Sunday June 5th.  The good thing is if you are a foreigner, not a Mexican national, you can still access your favourite beverage in bars and restaurants that cater primarily to tourists.  The fine to the business owner for selling alcohol to a Mexican national during the election weekend is 50,000 pesos!  Yikes.  That’s a lot of lost profit for a two dollar cerveza.

2010 political signs painted on wall
The rotation of the three-year terms for Municipal Presidente, and the six-year term for the State Governors are coming to an end.  National President Enrique Peña Nieto’s term started December 1st 2012 and runs until 2018, at which time he is ineligible to run again for this office.  It is also the law in Mexico that once a candidate fills a position, he or she cannot run again in the following election for the same position.  They can try their luck with a different municipality, or perhaps the Senate.  In the following election cycle, three or six years later, the previously elected official is allowed to run for re-election.

2013 PAN party parade
The election weekend is preceded by a boisterous few weeks of parades, car-mounted loud-speaker announcements and of course speeches; lots of speeches making politically-motivated pledges that, like any political promise, may or may not come to fruition.  

It’s what politicians the world-over do.  

Promise heaven and earth, yet deliver only air.

2013 Alicia Rincalde – it rained on the parade
The evenings leading up to the June election are typically punctuated with beeping moto and car horns, loud music, cheering supporters and hundreds of participants parading in various locations around the island.  Because our home is situated on a main road, the parades invariably pass us at some point during the procession.  We are not Mexican citizens, and therefore can’t vote, but it is very entertaining to watch the process.  Canadian elections are much more subdued relying primarily on television advertising and televised debates.  This loud and crazy stuff is a lot more fun.
2013 buzzing around the annual fishing tournament

In 2013 a very large parade for the PAN party was led by several young people on in-line-skates waving over-sized flags, trailed by a cadre of bicycle riders and a drum corp.  Next came the walking contingent lead by the candidate and followed by the inevitable motos, golf carts and vehicles.  Everyone was cheering, waving and yelling their candidate’s name.  Organized chaos.

Typically there are brightly-coloured signs painted on every available flat surface, and posters hung from light-poles or posts.  Three years ago one candidate had her full length image mounted on corrugated plastic boards that popped up all over the island, even during the annual fishing tournament.  Three small boats were hired to circulate around and around the tournament docks with her image standing proudly in the bow.  We thought it was an inventive idea.

2013 Agapito Magaña won the election 
Sunday June 5th was Election Day this year and it was a very quiet, subdued campaign.  We were barely aware it was happening.  We only saw one parade for each of the two major candidates.  According to a local source there are now limits how much money can be spent on promotions, a direct result of too signs and posters unclaimed after the 2013 campaign leaving the municipality with the cost of cleanup.  

Even the traditional victory parade for the winning candidate didn’t happen this year. 
2016 Juan Carillo PRI parade

Well at least we didn’t have to worry about being thirsty this past weekend.  We had wisely re-stocked our fridge with cold cervezas and wine.  Only to start alcohol-free diets on the following Monday. Talk about bad timing!  But as I like to say: fat cells have GPS.  No matter how many times we lose them – they find us again.  It’s time to send those fat cells packing, yet again. 

2019 will be the next municipal election for Presidente.  We are looking forward to the chaos and the parades.

Hasta Luego

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